It may be called a den, but it doesn’t have to look like bears live here. – Heather, to her kids, too often
Welcome to the Deep clean Challenge Week 5. Just joining us? So far, we have:
Are you seeing progress? Let us know in the comments.
How does The Deep Clean Challenge Work?
The week’s challenge is announced on our Facebook page each Wednesday morning. This gives you time to plan your strategy and get any tools you may not have on hand for this week’s project. When Saturday rolls around, you are ready to start. (If Saturday doesn’t work for you, move it to a day that does).
Why are we cleaning the living room/family room this week?
We’ve already cleaned the two main private areas we spend most of our time and the public area that may significantly affect your day-to-day mood (that’s the kitchen), so now, it’s time to start with other more public areas of the home.
What will be cleaned in the living room/family room?
We’re aiming to hit all of the main parts, but we’re not doing the chimney if you have a fireplace. Also, if you have a great room situation, mentally divide this room and figure out where your dining area is. We will hit the dining area in the future. If you took out a wall to “open the space,” imagine it’s back, just for this exercise.
What is our goal in cleaning the living room/family room?
We’re not trying to pass a white glove test. We’re trying to create a space that is pleasant to be in.
We want to walk through the room without experiencing the sheer delight of stepping on an unseen Lego or having to shove aside last week’s dishes to eat while watching TV.
Please do not misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with a good Netflix or Hulu binge; I’m waiting for the kids to go to bed so I can finish up Season 2 of The Great. We just want to be able to do this without any guilt distracting us from this joy. Clutter is morally neutral. We just want to make sure you’re happy in your living space.
That is the goal when we are cleaning the living/family room.
What tools and cleaning supplies do we need to clean the living room?
It’s nearly the same as last week, except for the linen spray and allergy barriers:
- garbage bags
- bus tubs/bins
- rubber gloves
- glass cleaner
- paper towels
- soft bristle attachment
- foxtail or soft bristle brush
- broom and dustpan
- leather cleaner, if you have leather furniture
- furniture polish
Nice to have/get:
- well-fitted KN-95 mask*
- canned air
- new lightbulbs, if any are out
- Cord keepers/organizers
- A spare charger
- Maybe a spare sheet
How do we get started with this week’s challenge to clean the living/family room?
Do you have everything you need? An accountability partner? Music, podcast, or other audio entertainment? Timers?
Then you are all set.
How long should cleaning the living/family room take?
This question again? We’ve been over this; it varies.
How large is your room? How much stuff do you have? How dusty is it? Are you like Heather’s dad? Do you have a million of those tiny houses that need to be dusted with a paintbrush? It might take you a while, and you might not make it through in our two-hour time limit. That’s okay. You can continue working on it each week as it comes around in the weekly chore schedule.
At the end of the challenge, you can also hit rinse and repeat and have another chance.
Let’s Clean that Living Room!
Gather your supplies, and don’t forget to grab your mask if you’re part of the allergy crew. If looking at the room as a whole is overwhelming, look at last week’s tips for the neurodivergent community and divide the room into sections to make the chore more manageable.
Your first task is to turn off the ceiling fan if you have one. While that is slowing, look for all things that do not belong. These things include:
- dirty laundry
- clean laundry
- school stuff
- dirty dishes
- items from other rooms
- work stuff
You get the idea. Your job is to gather those up and put them away UNLESS you tend to clean down the rabbit trail. If this is the case, gather it up and set it just outside the room. You will deal with it AFTER the living room is clean.
Grab your broom and knock down any cobwebs from the corner.
Clean the ceiling fan.
Clean the fan. If you have items, you do not want dust to fall on below the fan, spread a sheet on the floor or over the items. Don’t forget the light fixture and check which way the blades spin when the fan is on. If you are in a warm season, the fan should be turning counter-clockwise.
Clean the overhead light fixture if you do not have a ceiling fan.
If the glass light covering is especially grimy, you can either set it to soak or run it through the dishwasher (don’t if the glass is frosted).
Clean the windows and window coverings.
Are you just vacuuming the curtains/drapes or taking them down for a wash or a trip to the cleaner? There is no wrong answer. If you vacuum the drapes, use the soft bristle attachment, but be sure the attachment is clean, so you don’t leave any smudges on light-colored fabrics.
Clean any shelves, mantles, media cabinets, and elevated, horizontal surfaces.
How you dust and polish will be determined by the type of material used. Some laminated furniture just needs a wipe with a damp rag, some will need to be dusted and polished to preserve their luster.
Don’t forget to dust your television and speakers.
If you got that can of air, now is when you’ll use it. Look for where the dust has gathered on the electrical equipment near any vents and use the canned air to gently blow it away from (not into) the vents.
While you are looking at the electronics, do you have a place in this room where you tend to charge your devices? Could that use a little love/cord organization? Why don’t you tend to that?
Clean all the chairs and sofa(s).
Grab your vacuum. We’re going deep. Remove any removable parts and give the whole piece a good once over with the vacuum, unless it is leather. If the item is leather, just vacuum any non-leather parts. Then use the appropriate leather cleaner on the rest of the item.
How much change did you find? We find so much less than we used to now that we’ve moved away from cash.
Clean the walls.
How you do this will depend on the type of paint you have. If your walls are matte, flat, or eggshell paint, these finishes don’t handle washing well. You’ll want only to use a barely damp rag with very dilute vinegar. If you have semi-gloss, this paint is much more tolerant of washing, and you can usually use your favorite diluted degreaser.
However, we have reached the portion of our show where we recite our motto.
We solemnly swear to always read the label, never mix chemicals without research, fight the man, test in an inconspicuous area, and hide the evidence.
Wash the windows.
If it’s been a while, you may really notice a difference in how much brighter the sunlight is.
Have you noticed that we’ve gone top to bottom? We’re just about to the floor now. But, it’s time for everyone’s least favorite part of the show… baseboards. Grab a rag and some gloves. If you have white baseboards, I have found that diluted powdered Tide works really well. Tide has brighteners in it that make whites whiter and since your baseboards are white, they’ll look a lot better. Is it cheating?
While you are making this trek around the room, save yourself a step and drag the vacuum with you (and use it). Have the crevice tool attached and get that annoying bit either between the carpet and the baseboard or where the quarter round and floor meet that tends to collect everything. It’ll make your next-to-last step easier.
Vacuum or sweep and mop.
This is a thorough, company is coming vacuuming/sweeping/mopping.
Once this is done, it is time to put away all of your tools, make sure your curtains are rehung, if you took them down. Reassemble your light fixture and call it a day.
Well done, my friend. Well done.